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On the roster: Dem revolt threatens another incumbent - McConnell announces Oct. session ahead of midterms - New Hampshire House race could make history - Interest groups press undecided senators on Kavanaugh - Hmmm that’s not how it works
DEM REVOLT THREATENS ANOTHER INCUMBENT
Vox: “In a Democratic wave year, in a state where unemployment has finally fallen under 5 percent after one of the nation’s most brutal recessions, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sure sounds like she should be a shoo-in for a second term. But she isn’t. In fact, Raimondo isn’t even guaranteed to get through her Democratic primary election on Wednesday. Though she has the backing of popular national Democrats including Joe Biden, she’s facing a challenge from former Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown, backed by Bernie Sanders-inspired groups like Justice Democrats. The progressive insurgency sweeping the nation is cresting in Rhode Island as well — a state with a peculiar brand of politics and a history of strong lefty showings in Democratic primaries. But unlike other places, where progressive victories have conveniently aligned with the party’s championing of women and candidates of color, the Rhode Island battle features a more throwback battle between a progressive white male candidate who seeks to unseat the state’s first woman governor.”
Ariz. Democratic Party's top candidates won’t endorse each other - 3TV/CBS 5: “In an apparent political split, Democratic candidates David Garcia and Kyrsten Sinema are declining to endorse each other for now even though they top the ticket this year for their party. Asked today if he was endorsing Sinema, who is running for Jeff Flake's open Senate seat, Garcia said he was more focused on his race. ‘We are a candidate and we are a campaign we are a party with a lot of factions and we complement each other,’ said Garcia, who is the Democratic nominee for governor. Garcia's response highlights the differences between the two candidates even though they come from the same party. Sinema has run a more conservative campaign, running as a conservative Democrat who votes with Republican President Donald Trump 60 percent of the time. Garcia, on the other hand, has run a more progressive race, routinely slamming Trump's policies. Earlier in the day Garcia released a list of endorsements on Twitter that included every current Democratic member of congress from Arizona except Sinema.”
JPMorgan exec brags he could beat Trump, then takes it back - Bloomberg: “JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon picked a fight with President Donald Trump -- and immediately regretted it. ‘I think I could beat Trump’ in an election, the Wall Street executive said at an event Wednesday morning that was supposed to celebrate his firm’s philanthropy. ‘I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is.’ By noon, the bank sent out a statement from its chairman and chief executive officer backtracking completely: ‘I should not have said it. I’m not running for president. Proves I wouldn’t make a good politician. I get frustrated because I want all sides to come together to help solve big problems.’ The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”
THE RULEBOOK: STILL TRUE
“It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes…” – James Madison, Federalist No. 10
TIME OUT: HAMIL-TIME
Atlantic: “On a spring day in 1858, the president of the New York Historical Society shared a letter … offering an unusual donation from the Bank of New York: an elaborate clock. To convince his fellow members … the president singled out one man from the bank’s original board. ‘Among the directors,’ said the president, ‘Was General [Alexander] Hamilton…’ The Historical Society welcomed the clock to its collection. … A legend grew around the clock. A subsequent director of the Historical Society referred to it as the Hamilton clock. The story emerged that Alexander Hamilton had gifted the clock personally to his financial brainchild, like a father bestowing a pocket watch to his firstborn. Whether he really did remains an unsolved mystery. The timepiece in question was monumental. … The mahogany waist of the body, inlaid with a circlet of 16 stars, tapered in as if the clock had been squeezed into a corset. The stars, meant to represent the ever-growing number of states in the union, suggested the clock was made around 1796, when Tennessee achieved statehood.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 39.2 percent
Average disapproval: 53.8 percent
Net Score: -14.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 1 point
[Average includes: CNN: 37% approve - 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 54% disapprove; NPR/Marist: 38% approve - 54% disapprove; Gallup: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Grinnell College/Selzer: 43% approve - 50% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 39.2 percent
Democratic average: 49.8 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 10.6 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage down 0.4 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 52% Dems - 38% GOP; NPR/Marist: 50% Dems - 38% GOP; Grinnell College/Selzer: 45% Dems - 43% GOP; ABC/WaPo: 52% Dems - 38% GOP; USA Today/Suffolk: 50% Dems - 39% GOP.]
[Watch Fox: Tonight we will release our latest Fox News polls on key races in Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. Tune in to “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 pm ET.]
MCCONNELL ANNOUNCES OCT. SESSION AHEAD OF MIDTERMS
Politico: “Traditionally, the Senate hits the road in October of an election year. But the Senate is throwing tradition out the window this year. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to keep the chamber in session for a significant portion of October if not four entire weeks, costing Democrats key campaign trail days and allowing the Senate to continue its work into the fall, according to five Republican officials. The Kentucky Republican wants to keep cranking through as many lifetime judicial nominations and executive nominations as he can with his majority in the balance and the GOP still with the unilateral ability to confirm President Donald Trump’s picks. Moreover, the Senate GOP has only two members who are considered vulnerable in the election: Ted Cruz of Texas and Dean Heller of Nevada. Democrats, meanwhile, are defending 10 seats total in states that Trump won in 2016, with at least four considered extremely competitive. The House is expected to head home for the rest of the election season after passing a spending bill later this month.”
More Republicans admit Cruz has a fight ahead - NYT: “Days after a top adviser to President Trump questioned Senator Ted Cruz’s chances of winning re-election, the Texas lawmaker casually stepped into the pinnacle of his hometown’s energy industry on Tuesday — the lobby of the Petroleum Club of Houston, on the 35th floor of a downtown skyscraper. Mr. Cruz shook hands while holding a cup of McDonald’s coffee. By the end of his remarks to the American Petroleum Institute, the audience rose for two standing ovations. … For Mr. Cruz, the pressure has been steadily ratcheting up. On Saturday, Mick Mulvaney, the federal budget director, told Republican donors in New York that Mr. Cruz might lose re-election and suggested that the Texas senator was not likable enough. … Mr. Cruz has been criticized by his fellow party members for squandering time months ago when he should have been active and raising money.”
Scott uses jet for bus tour for ‘official duties’ - Politico: “Gov. Rick Scott used his private jet Tuesday to commute to a Senate campaign stop for his ‘bus tour,’ marking his second stumble since announcing he was traveling Florida highways this week to ‘Make Washington Work.’ Scott’s campaign said the use of his plane was a must because the governor couldn’t get from an official hearing of the Clemency Board in Tallahassee to the Republican-rich Villages retirement community in time. ‘Clemency is an important duty that the governor takes very seriously. He took a break from the bus tour today to attend to his official duties and flew to meet the bus in The Villages,’ campaign spokesman Chris Hartline said. ‘Gov. Scott is able to run an aggressive campaign while continuing to perform his official duties, unlike Bill Nelson, who can’t do either.’”
Poll shows Nevada races are neck and neck - Las Vegas Review-Journal: “A poll released Tuesday found that key statewide races in Nevada remain deadlocked, Question 3 continues to lose ground and Silver State voters aren’t thrilled with the idea of impeaching President Donald Trump. The poll, conducted by Suffolk University for the Reno Gazette-Journal, surveyed 500 likely voters in Nevada. It showed the Democratic candidates with slight leads in the races for U.S. Senate, governor, attorney general and lieutenant governor. But the gap between the candidates fell well within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error. … The poll asked 500 likely voters if the U.S. House of Representatives should consider impeaching Trump. Just under 60 percent of respondents — including 28 percent of Democrats — said no.”
McConnell compares close Senate races to ‘a knife fight’ - NBC News: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that the Senate races in this year’s midterm elections are going to be ‘very challenging,’ comparing each one to ‘a knife fight in an alley.’ Speaking to reporters at the Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse in Louisville, Kentucky, McConnell was asked if Republicans will hold onto the majority in Congress. ‘We know this is going to be a very challenging election,’ he said. McConnell said Senate races were ‘dead-even’ in Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and Florida. ‘All of them too close to call and every one of them is like a knife fight in an alley,’ he said. ‘It's just a brawl in every one of those places.’”
NEW HAMPSHIRE HOUSE RACE COULD MAKE HISTORY
Roll Call: “Chris Pappas, a member of New Hampshire’s executive council, has won the Democratic nomination for the state’s swing 1st District, defeating a better-funded candidate who only recently moved to there. He starts the general election to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter as the slight favorite against Republican former police chief Eddie Edwards. In a contest of firsts, Pappas would be the first openly gay representative from the Granite State, while Edwards would be the state’s first African-American member of Congress. With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Pappas led an 11-way Democratic field with 42 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. Marine veteran Maura Sullivan was second with 30 percent. Levi Sanders, the son of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, trailed in seventh place with 2 percent. He didn’t have his father’s endorsement, struggled to raise money and didn’t live in the district.”
Dems hope military veteran candidates can help party capture the House - Fox News: “Jason Crow isn’t just trying to replace Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., as a U.S. Congressman. He’s hoping to replace Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the Democratic leader in Congress, too. ‘We just need a new generation of leadership that’s willing to step up and move past this culture that we have in Washington right now,’ Crow said. Crow is one of 17 military veterans on congressional ballots across the country, after being recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC. Democrats are hoping that candidates who have served in the armed forces will energize districts that are GOP strongholds, believing that military heroes will have a strong shot at courting conservative voters.”
Still no replacement chosen for Chris Collins - NYT: “After Representative Chris Collins was indicted last month, the Republican from western New York seemed to leave no doubt about his immediate political future: There was none. Mr. Collins abandoned his re-election bid in the ‘best interests’ of his district, ‘the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda,’ after he was accused of insider trading and lying to federal agents. Yet even as local Republican leaders have interviewed a slate of replacement candidates for the seat, there is a real possibility that Mr. Collins could stay on the November ballot and represent the party. Removing someone from the ballot in New York is no simple matter, and Republican officials in the 27th Congressional District now say they may not have a new nominee until after the state primary on Sept. 13. (Mr. Collins ran unopposed in the congressional primary in June.)”
INTEREST GROUPS PRESS UNDECIDED SENATORS ON KAVANAUGH
NYT: “Pressure is intensifying on undecided senators before a vote to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, with one senator — Susan Collins, Republican of Maine — reporting that she and her staff have been targeted with a barrage of calls, including some using vulgar language and threats to push her to vote against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. With last week’s confirmation hearings behind them, interest groups and advocates are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising to target both Ms. Collins and another undecided Republican who supports abortion rights: Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Also in the cross hairs are three vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in states won by President Trump. But Ms. Collins, who prizes her reputation for independence, appears to be bearing most of the onslaught. Her decision will probably influence that of Ms. Murkowski, as well as those of the three vulnerable Democrats: Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.”
Hillary Clinton repeats anti-Kavanaugh talking point debunked by fact checkers - Fox News: “Hillary Clinton on Wednesday repeated a Democratic talking point about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s use of the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs” -- a claim that has been repeatedly debunked by fact-checkers. ‘I want to be sure we're all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week,’ she tweeted. ‘He referred to birth-control pills as ‘abortion-inducing drugs.’ That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.’ Kavanaugh, at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Thursday was asked about a case he ruled on involving Priests for Life, a pro-life group that was challenging ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate that the group said violated its religious beliefs. ‘That was a group that was being forced to provide certain kind of health coverage over their religious objection to their employees. And under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the question was first, was this a substantial burden on the religious exercise? And it seemed to me quite clearly it was,’ Kavanaugh told lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Members of Congress return to the Hill ahead of hurricane Florence - Roll Call
New Strzok-Page texts reveal others ‘leaking like mad’ - Fox News
Trump finds successor for Don McGahn as next WH Counsel - WSJ
“Now, there are some people in the United States who don’t like it that Chinese people eat dog. And I want them, the Chinese people, to know, that we eat bunnies over here, and we eat all kinds of little animals. I don’t blame them for eating dog. I mean, if that’s what tastes good, that’s what tastes good.” – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., in a recently surfaced interview from February 2018 with Voice of America (VOA) China when asked to offer New Year’s greetings to the people of China.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Please do not insult our intelligence by glossing over, no, completely omitting the fact that a portion of ‘the same department that has wildly succeeded in the only mission that mattered to Americans in the aftermath of the attacks’ has been obsessed with playing political games to suit their personal needs and/or taste! Yes, the majority of the Justice Department are honorable people, but absolutely not all. Leaving this little morsel out is just as wrong as if you had left out the attacks from Trump on the Justice department. If you’re going to tell the story, tell the whole story!” – Franklin Overby, Benton, Ky.
[Ed. note: Gracious sakes, Mr. Overby! It’s possible to talk about things other than the daggone Russia probe. Especially on a day like 9/11, it should also be okay to praise the agency that has succeeded in a task of so long that most Americans believed impossible 17 years ago. My point was about people forgetting the lesson of rejecting hate for our fellow Americans. I hear your fear and anger at what you believe is a Justice Department working as a fifth column within the government working to sabotage the president you admire. I don’t see the evidence for that but I certainly see why a person who believes that would be fearful and angry. My encouragement to you is: This too shall pass. Supporters of presidents Clinton and Nixon felt the same way before you did. So don’t let your outrage now occlude the larger point of Tuesday’s remembrance.]
“Mr. Stirewalt, This is the first time I’ve ever thought or expressed ‘brilliant’ in connection with a reporter, news article or opinion piece. Your short, The Lesson of 9/11 We Didn’t Really Want to Learn was truly a brilliant observation and expression. It touched my heart and left me longing for our nation to return to commitment to each other and freedom as my parents’ WWII generation demonstrated. I’m an old retired US Marine, 24 years during the Cold War, no direct combat tours but privileged to lead some tremendous young Marines. Most of my senior SNCOs and Officer Mentors had Viet Nam reality. Very proud of my oldest son a US Marine LtCol who could retire next year. He served in both active combat theaters and for several years part of the storm response support effort. As you expressed American of all stripes are very important to us. Maybe someday more will realize how precious our fellow citizens are. I really appreciate your observations and hope many will read and contemplate your words. Keep it up!” – L. Harv Nelson Lt Col USMC (Ret), Pierce, Idaho
[Ed. note: First and foremost — thanks to you and your son for your service. Marine lieutenant colonels don’t grow on trees, so I know what an accomplishment is to have two generations of them. And I can tell also how that service has shaped your love of your country and countrymen. That’s a very cool thing indeed. Your example should help us all to do better.]
“Chris, First the book passage and now the WWII-Vietnam-9/11 write up with a beautiful tribute to the Dahls. You Sir are on a roll and clearly enjoying it. A few things that deserve time on future Halftime reports - Can populism reverse the blue collar job drain? (Historical view), What can we learn from history about trade wars and more tactically - Woodward, Nike/Kap, WH coup/OpEd…” – Jai Suresh, Milpitas, Calif.
[Ed. note: That’s quite an assignment! But coupled as it is with such very kind words, I may have to give it a shot. Thank you.]
“Chris, Your book arrived today. I am so blown away by the dedication, probably the most endearing I've ever read, that the rest of the book could be drivel and it would be worth the money. I hope your sons know how fortunate they are to be raised by a man of extraordinary talent and insight. Thank you.” – Mary Carol Miller, Greenwood, Miss.
[Ed. note: Your long and enthusiastic support for this note, our podcast and now this book is much appreciated, Ms. Miller. You’re a gem. And as for my boys, if you knew them you’d know why I am so optimistic about what comes next for America.]
“Dear Mr. Stirewalt, Read the excerpt from your new book. Quite telling. I am concerned that faith in our institutions is being replaced by a cynicism so deeply layered that it will take much time and herculean effort to undo it. Provided we have the will to undo it and the education to understand how our system is intricately connected and vital to our survival as s nation. Finally, your citation by Dahl that ‘life is too short to be defined by hate’ (paraphrased) chills me to the bone. When I see how hate and division so easily resumed after 9/11, I sometimes lose faith in my fellow man and myself. But my faith is ultimately rooted in the Creator. And I want to live a life that is pleasing to him and pray fervently that His wisdom permeates through each and every one of us. Life is indeed short and feel as a nation we need to maximize the good in us. Hate is easy. We need to listen attentively to one another. It's a start. Look forward to reading your book as I await its arrival.” – Ronald Tomasello, Cupertino, Calif.
[Ed. note: Lord, hear our prayer. You said it quite eloquently, Mr. Tomasello. I hope that the next political revolution in America is one that rejects dishonesty and demagoguery.]
“Chris, It seems to me that DeSantis could make short-shrift of the Florida governor's race by simply scheduling a speech at The Villages and stating ‘Andrew Gillum wants to take your Medicare and give it to everyone.’ I'll be applying for a position as DeSantis' speech writer next week.” – Pat Conroy, Austin, Texas
[Ed. note: Unless Gillum gets there first and tells them DeSantis wants to take it away! The truth, we both know, is that DeSantis is going to get probably better than 60 percent of the vote there. The voters are older, more affluent and whiter than the state as a whole. Where DeSantis needs to focus is the suburbs of Tampa and Orlando where voters are less reliably Republican, especially this year.]
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HMMM THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS
WPTV: “Authorities say a Florida woman is blaming a windy day for the cocaine that police found in her purse. WPLG reported Kennecia Posey was one of two passengers in a car stopped by Fort Pierce police in late March. Police say an officer smelled marijuana and that, after searching the car, cocaine and marijuana in separate bags were found inside a purse Posey had on her lap. Authorities say they questioned Posey about the drugs. According to the police report, Posey responded: ‘It’s a windy day. It must have flown through the window and into my purse.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“When your final statement is a reprise of your first, you have unwittingly confessed to being nothing more than a historical parenthesis.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Jan. 12, 2017.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.